Prior to 3/5/2008 the newsclips are available in a PDF archive.
News Clips 03/22/2013
Charging the Bulls: USF trustees raise non-tuition fees
Source: Tampa Tribune, 03/22/13
View Original Article
By Jerome R. Stockfisch
Whatever the Legislature decides on tuition during the next month in Tallahassee, students will be digging a little deeper next fall to pay for their education in the University of South Florida system.
The USF Board of Trustees on Thursday approved several fee increases, bumping up the non-tuition charges more than $54 a year for a student taking a full course load at USF. The tab is even steeper for students at USF St. Petersburg, who will pay an extra $107 in fees next fall.
That doesn't include material, supply, facility and equipment fees for individual classes that can run as high as $75 per class. In USF's music department in Tampa, for example, many course fees will rise from last year's standard $7 to $25, $30 or $50, depending on the instrument.
"To increase the burden on students is not what we want to do, but at the end of the day, we have to make sure students have the services and support they need," said Brian Goff, USF's student body president.
Goff has a seat on the Board of Trustees and voted to increase his fellow students' future tab after spending the past two years on committees that analyzed student fee requests.
"We made sure that every cent was justified and necessary, and that there weren't any frivolous increases going into it," he said.
For the 2012-13 school year, a resident undergraduate at USF typically paid $6,334 in tuition and fees. Of that, about $1,800 went to student fees.
USF System president Judy Genshaft noted that there have been few fee increases in recent years as students struggled in the down economy. "This year, we felt that we had to in some of these areas," she said.
The state Legislature controls most purse strings and sets base tuition for the university system.
But student fees have been a popular way to fund non-academic facilities and services at public universities. The use of state funds is tightly regulated. For example, money in the state's Public Education Capital Outlay program comes from a tax on Floridians' utility bills and can only be used for academic-oriented construction.
School fees, meanwhile, are assessed for purposes such as athletics, health, technology, transportation and other student benefits. A Capital Improvement Trust Fund, established through student fees, supports non-academic construction.
USF St. Petersburg, for example, has more than $3.5 million in capital trust fund programs on the drawing board, from a pool replacement to upgrading recreation facilities, including safety and security. Its trust fund fee is slated to rise $2 this fall, from $6.76 a credit hour to $8.76, to help pay for the projects.
In Tampa, the construction trust fund fee will rise $1.24 to $8 a credit hour. The money raised will finance improvements to the Marshall Student Center, the main library, and wellness and recreation activities.
In Tampa, a health fee rises 21 cents a credit hour, and an activity and service fee goes up 37 cents a credit hour. Altogether, that's an increase of $1.82 a credit hour, or just over $54 for someone taking 30 credits a school year.
In St. Petersburg, the health fee rises $1 per credit hour, and a student government fee increases 58 cents a credit hour. Add the building fee, and the overall increase is $3.58 a credit hour, or about $107 for someone taking 30 credits.
The Florida Legislature sets base state university tuition during the 60-day legislative session. Individual universities then have the ability to raise the figure up to 15 percent year to year, subject to state Board of Governors approval.
Halfway through the legislative session, the budget process is now heating up. In a show of unity, university presidents notified lawmakers that if the Legislature replaces $300 million in funding cut from university budgets last year, and adds $118 million in new money, they will not raise tuition.